Hailsham may double in size in 22 years

Bonanza for builders: Hailsham has been earmarked for some 9,000 new homes
Bonanza for builders: Hailsham has been earmarked for some 9,000 new homes

Hailsham could be set to nearly double in size under a new Local Plan proposed by Wealden District Council.

The council wants to see up to 9,380 new homes built in the town by 2037, which would represent a proportional growth of around 97 per cent.

The potential growth comes as the council looks to adopt a new planning framework for where new houses should be built in the area.

Hailsham has the largest level of potential development under the proposed plan but other towns in Wealden are also set for significant growth over the next 22 years. Polegate and Willingdon could get a further 1,000 homes, while Heathfield could see 800 new homes and Stone Cross around 500. Several villages in Wealden are also expected to grow under the plans with 350 new homes in Westham, 230 in Herstmonceux and 30 in Pevensey.

Hellingly could also have 30 more houses, 50 in Windmill Hill and 20 in Maynards Green as well as a number of smaller potential developments in villages across Wealden.

The proposal also includes plans to improve the roads, shopping centres and other infrastructure around the district as more houses are built. Any large scale development is unlikely to take place in Hailsham and south Wealden until this infrastructure is in place. This includes changes to local water treatment works, which are not expected to be completed until 2022.

Overall, the council aims to allow 12,750 houses to be built by 2037 – more than required under the current government guidance – as a way to ensure development only happens in areas the council believes to be sustainable.

Around 2,300 of the houses are to make up for the shortfall in housing from neighbouring councils, mainly Eastbourne Borough Council. The proposed plan will be discussed by the council today (Friday) before full details are sent out for a six-week public consultation from October 19. Full details of the plan will be available on Wealden council’s website and at community centres.

Residents can discuss the proposal with planning officers at seven public events to be held in the coming weeks. For details of these events, visit www.wealden.gov.uk

Council Leader Bob Standley said, “The number of new homes may surprise some but they reflect the need across Wealden District alongside a wider responsibility to help meet the future housing needs of neighbouring authorities. With the extended period we have chosen for the new Local Plan, we can plan for an era of growth while retaining our highly-prized landscape and environment.”

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